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{May 25, 2012}   Satisfy Your Taste for the Mediterranean Right Here in Downtown Greenville…

So, did the delectable food at Greenville’s Greek Festival last weekend leave you yearning for more?  Found yourself with an overwhelming urge for souvlaki, dolmades and baklava? Don’t despair, Downtown Greenville has a variety of restaurants serving Greek, Italian and Mediterranean cuisine to satisfy your every craving!

For more than 40 years, Never on Sunday has been a little piece of Athens (that’s Greece, not Georgia) in Downtown Greenville. The atmosphere is cozy and eclectic, rather like visiting Grandma’s house  –  if Grandma grew up near the Aegean.  A true “Mom & Pop”,  proprietors  Nick and Iris  make it their mission to give you a good home-cooked meal (Nick cooks, Iris serves it up with an indulgent smile). Regulars say the dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) are a must have…as well as their Greek salads with Nick’s delicious homemade dressing. Don’t leave without sampling their legendary Baklava – best eaten with your fingers to get every savory morsel. Make sure you request a jug of wine for that true Greek dining experience. Located at 210 East Coffee Street, Nick and Iris serve up lunch and dinner every day except…you guessed it…Sunday (& Monday). Prices are very affordable and although reservations are not required, weekends can get a little busy at dinner, so you may want to call ahead.

Greek marries Italian at Milano Kozani, a charming restaurant with plenty of Mediterranean romance.  Located at 12 South Main Street, this restaurant and its Italian trained chef, strive to bring diners the best in Italian cuisine from the region of Emilia Romagna. Try the Pollo Isabelle- grilled chicken breast  topped with fried goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil and a white wine lemon cream sauce to die for…all served over olive oil sautéed spinach. Or, if you love Lasagna, try theirs either with meat or vegetarian, one of the House favorites. Can’t decide what to have? Then order their Greek or Italian Sampler Platter for a little bit of everything!  Add to this a supreme wine list that will make you think it was designed by the god of wine himself, and you have a meal that will have you feeling like you’ve gone to Mount Olympus! If you find yourself Downtown at lunchtime, then stop by for their Lunch Buffet, served Monday-Friday 11AM-2PM. At less than $10, you’ll be glad you did!

Speaking of Italian, Ristorante Bergamo brings a bit of Northern Italy to the heart of Greenville. A culinary cornerstone of Downtown for over 25 years, this destination of Italian foodies is named for Greenville’s sister city, Bergamo, Italy. Chef/owner and native Bergamasco, Nello Gioia has made his mark on our local restaurant scene with a menu that is a culinary work of art. A believer in the Slow Food method, this creative chef uses fresh, sustainable ingredients such as organic herbs grown in his own garden, Tuscan olive oil, heirloom vegetables grown regionally, Carnoli Rice  (the signature of his risotto dishes),  and polenta – the yellow corn meal staple often found in Bergamasca cooking.  Located in a primo spot at 100 North Main Street, Ristorante Bergamo offers fine dining in an intimate atmosphere, with lovely views of Downtown. Dinner is served Tuesday – Saturday and since the restaurant only seats 80 guests, reservations are strongly recommended.

Another Mediterranean restaurant with incredible views, but a more casual atmosphere is The Lazy Goat. This RiverPlace establishment offers an array of delectable dishes from Greece and Italy, with a culinary nod to the succulent flavors of Spain, Morocco and the Middle East.  While enjoying gorgeous views of the Reedy River from the dining room or the outdoor patio, diners can feast on such “made from scratch” delicacies as Pumpkin Tagliatelle – a crispy pancetta, served with braised greens, pine nut & sage brown butter, Braised Moroccan Lamb Shank – served with warm pita, cucumber yogurt and plantain chips, or Fried Goat Cheese sprinkled with pistachio dust and drizzled with honey (my personal favorite).  The bar selection’s not too shabby either – try the refreshing Easy Breeze Martini (Absolute Ruby Red Vodka, Cranberry Juice and Fresh Lime) or the decadent Godiva Truffletini (Godiva Dark Chocolate and Godiva White Chocolate Liquor, Stoli Vodka, in a Chocolate laced glass with a splash of milk). You may just decide to spend your Saturdays there, sipping drinks on the patio with friends while listening to live music – for time that is truly “well wasted”.

For a meal that is a step above the ordinary, try Pomegranate On Main. This upscale West End restaurant with its exotic décor and Persian-inspired delicacies will have you expecting to see Lawrence of Arabia walk in at any moment! With delectable offerings of kabobs, stews and, of course, hummus, your taste buds will be dancing with elation all night! Try the Chicken Torsh Kabob – generous chunks of lean chicken breast, marinated in a zesty Pomegranate sauce that’s both sweet and sour, mixed with walnuts and served with basmati cranberry rice – YUM! Vegetarians will love the Kashk Bademjan – sautéed eggplant and onion, topped with Persian cream of whey, crispy fried onion and mint, or the Vegetarian Fesenjan – a savory stew with sautéed Portobello mushrooms slow cooked in a finely ground walnut and Pomegranate sauce, served with basmati rice. For the ultimate dining experience, have your meal outside under the pergola, while sipping wine and people watching from its South Main location.

It is the diversity of restaurants such as these that continue to make Downtown Greenville a major culinary destination. From the cozy, home-like setting of Never on Sunday to the fine dining of Ristorante Bergamo to the laid-back casualness of The Lazy Goat, there is never a lack of good times centered around food in our fair city. SALUTE!

More…

Never On Sunday: 210 Coffee Street; 864-232-2252; Hours: Lunch-11:30 AM-2 PM Tuesday-Friday; Dinner – 5-9 PM Tuesday-Saturday

Milano Kozani: 12 South Main Street; 864-263-3561; www.milanokazani.com; Hours: Food served from 11AM -10PM, 7 days a week

Ristorante Bergamo: 100 North Main Street; 864- 271-8667; www.ristorantebergamo.com; Hours: Dinner – 5:30pm – 9:30PM, Tuesday-Saturday

The Lazy Goat: 170 RiverPlace; 864- 679-5299; www.thelazygoat.typepad.com; Hours: Open for lunch at 11AM & dinner at 5:00, Monday – Saturday

Pomegranate On Main: 618 South Main Street; 864-241-3012; www. pomegranateonmain.com; Hours: Lunch – 11:30AM to 2:30PM; Dinner – 5:30PM UNTIL-Monday-Friday; . Saturday 11:30AM UNTIL.

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